Dustin Poirier vs Justin Gaethje
What a banger this is gonna be. Both these men have had their chance at the LW title within the past couple years. They last fought each other in 2018, where Dustin got the nod via 4th RD KO/TKO. Gaethje has long been applauded for his chin, as he takes an insane amount of damage in the pocket. He absorbs nearly 8 SS/m (7.6), while landing 7.3 SS/m. His cardio is never an issue, and you’re guaranteed to get a war for as long as it last. Many were surprised he got past Fiziev in his last outing, but after a rewatch of that one, Fiziev’s kickboxing approach was favorable for Gaethje’s style, he’ll absorb leg/body kicks all day long, to effectively beat Gaethje, you have to pressure him consistently, he’s done a better job recently of keeping his guard higher in the pocket, as well as better head movement, but he’s still there to be hit down the middle. Poirier will be prepared for war, as he is on most occasions. He’s got really solid boxing, and has developed in that area over the years. He’s mixes up things really well, he’s landing 5.5 SS/m (absorbs 4.2 SS/m), while averaging nearly 1.5 TDs per 15mins (1.4). Gaethje has a solid wrestling background, although he never uses it offensively, and tbh, his defensive grappling isn’t that great. If Dustin has a smart game plan, he’ll play Gaethje’s gm for about the first 15mins, then once the championship rounds get there, he’ll mix the wrestling in more often. Both these guys are extremely durable, so at the least we get 3 RDs out of them before any potential finish IMO. I see this one going all 5 tbh, with Poirier coming out on top again in similar fashion to their last meeting, the pressure will be most effective, and he’ll pile up the damage more effectively. Both have improved over the years, so will be 100% worth it once it’s here. This fight is a must for DFS, no matter which side you’re on.
PICK: Dustin Poirier $20 FD ($8300 DK)
Justin Gaethje $17 FD ($7900 DK)
Co Main Event
Jan Blachowicz vs Alex Pereira
This marks Pereira’s debut at LHW after coming to the UFC to terrorize Izzy. He took the MW belt from him in November 2022 at UFC 281, before Izzy took back in dramatic fashion via 2nd RD KO this past April. Now, just a few months removed, is taking his talents to the LHW division. Pereira is one of the best kickboxers in the world. He’s extremely technical and has a brick for a left hand, that’s why they call him Poatan. I wouldn’t be shocked if Pereira gets a title shot if he’s able to get a win here. Blachowicz is 40 years old now, so I don’t imagine we’ll see too much more of him, but he’s still very talented. He’s very methodical on the feet, and will set things up early with his kickboxing. He loves to throw calf kicks, and they definitely cause damage. He’ll need to have success here with Pereira to help limit the power coming back his way. His path of least resistance would be through getting TDs and controlling in top position, I’m not sure how easy that’ll come though, with Pereira not having to cut so much weight, the extra strength will pay huge dividends, and if he’s stuffing TDs, it’s likely bad news for Blachowicz. He’s stated in recent interviews leading up to this one, that he wants to test Pereira on the feet, and should he do that, it likely won’t end well. Blachowicz didn’t actively shoot for TDs in his bout with Izzy, at least not until later in the fight, and I don’t imagine he’ll spam TD attempts here either, if he does, and since they’re in elevation, he’ll gas much quicker. The paths for both are clear, but I see Pereira being able to negate the TDs from Blachowicz, and from there, he’ll pick him apart on the feet before he lands the big left to put him out. 2nd RD TKO/KO is the pick. I think this one matters big time in terms of optimal no matter the winner.
PICK: Alex Pereira $15 FD ($8000 DK)
Jan Blachowicz $15 FD ($8200 DK)
Rogerio De Lima vs Derrick Lewis
I’ve seen out there that this is likely Lewis’ last fight inside the octagon, not sure how true it is, but we’ll see. He looked better than he has in awhile at weigh-ins for this one too. Looks like he prepared for the elevation difference. Lewis is pretty much known for one thing now in terms of his skill set, and that’s his KO power, they say that’s the last thing that’ll go with a fighter, and that’s true. Lewis isn’t as athletically gifted as he once was. His ability to man power his way out of wrestling/grappling scenarios if he’s stuck on bottom hasn’t been evident in his last few fights, and he’s extremely low volume. His throwing 1-2 shots looking for the KO. De Lima will have all notable advantages in this one, aside from the power. He’s going to have faster hands, better wrestling/grappling, and his cardio will be better by default. If he can get Lewis grounded early in this one, it’ll suit him better. The earlier he can wear on him, the less likely Lewis carries the same power as RDs start to go long. De Lima has decent power hisself though, so that’s not to be overlooked, there’s a scenario where he blitzes Lewis early and overwhelms him to an early stoppage, or it could drag itself out for a bit. I do think someone gets slept in this one one way or the other. So a solid fight to target for DFS, and with so few fights now on the card, have to take your stands somewhere. I like De Lima to get it done in the 2nd RD via TKO. But will certainly have sprinkles of Lewis in ME contest.
PICK: Rogerio De Lima $19 FD ($8500 DK)
Derrick Lewis $11 FD ($7700 DK)
Bobby Green vs Tony Ferguson
This could be the farewell fight for Ferguson. He’s been around the gm for a long time, and is apart of the elites of the sport. El Cucuy is known for his unique fight style, and overall well roundedness. Most say his skid started when he went to war with Justin Gaethje a few years back. Since then, he’s lost 5 straight, albeit to the current elites of the division, aside from Diaz. He and Green matchup well here I feel like, they both throw punches from odd angles due to their hands being low, and can mix things up on the mat should it get there. If this was a few years ago, I’d definitely say with more confidence that Ferguson is the better grappler, but these days I’m not sure. His overall output has diminished over the years, but averages landing 5 SS/m (absorbs 3.9 SS/m), while Green lands 5.9 SS/m (absorbs 3.6 SS/m). Green the more active wrestler, averaging a bit over 1 TD per 15mins (1.2). Green moves well in the pocket to say the least, but he didn’t look too good against Jared Gordon last time out before the head-butt, Gordon was likely winning that fight. Green will pressure, & Ferguson will be there to chop away at the legs to slow the movement of Green. It does feel like Green should be favored, but not by this wide a margin. If this is Ferguson’s last go, he’s giving it all he’s got. & I feel he could do enough to steal 2 RDs. This has split decision written all over it IMO. & I could look like a fool if Green goes out there and tags him, but I’m willing to take my chances. Give me El Cucuy one last time via split decision.
PICK: Tony Ferguson $8 FD ($6700 DK)
Bobby Green $23 FD ($9500 DK)
Kevin Holland vs Michael Chiesa
I’m excited to see this one. Any Kevin Holland fight is always a good one. It’s been nearly 2yrs since we’ve seen Chiesa inside the octagon, so his return will be interesting. He’s on a 2 fight skid, so he’s looking to bounce back. Both are 3-2 over their last 5. Holland has floated with retirement over these last couple years, especially after the Chimaev fight, but quickly resurfaced after the Wonderboy offering. Had his ego not played part, he would’ve won that fight, he gave WB the fight he wanted, even letting him up when he had him on his back in grappling exchanges. I get it, you want to be entertaining, but at the same time, you need to be smart and realize what’s at stake. Chiesa won’t want to stand at kickboxing range with him, he’s gonna look to shoot for TDs and to try and control this thing from guard, while looking for submissions. Hollands overall wrestling/grappling offensively and defensively is pretty good though, so I feel like he’ll keep himself safe. Holland likes to set up his right hand when he’s on the feet, he’ll use his left arm to reach out and try to disrupt his opponents timing before he starts to put it together. His striking is very technical. He throws right down the pipe, not many looping actions. Chiesa averages less than 2 SS/landed per min (1.8), and that’s due to his heavy wrestling approach, where he averages over 3 TDs per 15mins (3.3). It’s to be seen if he’ll really try to go after TDs so heavily in this one, some fighters struggle more with elevation than others, and he didn’t look the best at weigh ins, he could kill his cardio early if he’s not careful. On principle I do feel like Chiesa will have the upper hand on the mat, I’m just not sure how much damage he can take closing distance for it to matter. I ultimately side with the busier fighter in Holland, he’s crafty on the mat too, so a submission win for him isn’t out of the question. I like Holland via 3rd RD TKO.
PICK: Kevin Holland $16 FD ($8400 DK)
Michael Chiesa $14 FD ($7800 DK)
Gabriel Bonfim vs Trevin Giles
Gabriel is looking to follow up his debut with another amazing performance. He made quick work of Lazzez and locked up a guillotine in the 1st. He’s a heavy pressure fighter and looks to get after it from the opening bell. His brother didn’t have such luck a few weeks ago, but I’m still hopeful for both of them to have long lasting careers in the UFC, and I believe Gabriel is the better fighter between them. He’s got the striking, with power in his hands. But he wants to get the fight to the mat and look for submissions. Giles is a solid fighter, he’s been around the UFC for years. He made the weight cut down to WW in 2022, where he’s 2-1. He’s got 4 losses, all via finish. His best path to victory is to stay on the outside, chopping away with leg kicks so he can get behind his jab. I’m just not sure Bonfim will give him that chance, Giles holds his head up in the pocket and has very little head movement, that’ll play right into what Bonfim wants. I think he’ll make quick work of him, and by that I mean he finds the finish at some point in the 1st, likely in similar fashion to his debut, gets a KD and hops on a submission. I think this kid is the real deal. He’s one of my fav plays for tonight’s slate.
PICK: Gabriel Bonfim $22 FD ($9200 DK)
Trevin Giles $9 FD ($7000 DK)
CJ Vergara vs Vinicius Salvador
This one will be interesting. I don’t think Vergara will challenge for a title or anything by any means, but he’s a solid all around fighter with solid tools. He doesn’t have power in his striking, but his pressure is good enough to steal rounds with activity. His most recent bout with Lacerda showed he can weather the storm after being severely hurt to bounce back and find a finish of his own. Salvador was applauded for his KO ending power with so many KO’s on his record, but then you see his debut performance and wonder how that’s the case. This dude wings punches from his hip. His punches are easily telegraphed, and therefore can limit taking the big one. Salvador’s kickboxing isn’t really effective in setting up his boxing either. Maybe I’m missing something, but he just doesn’t look impressive in any capacity to me, and I’ve seen people betting him as an underdog all week. Vergara has the better all around skill set to take this one, and he should by decision at the least. His peripheral stats could produce a solid DFS score too, especially on DK if he gets solid control in the grappling.
PICK: CJ Vergara $16 FD ($8700 DK)
Vinicius Salvador $14 FD ($7500 DK)
Roman Kopylov vs Claudio Ribeiro
I like this matchup. Kopylov seems to be putting it together, and we get to see another DWCS alum to try progress inside the octagon. Claudio bounced back from a KO loss to Alhassan by getting a finish of his own this last time out over Joseph Holmes in the 2nd RD. His pressure was too much for him to handle and he started to wilt. There were some moments in that fight leading up to the finish where it was clear Claudio should keep it standing, and he decided to shoot for a TD. It didn’t hurt him necessarily, but as you face better comp, you need to make better decisions. Kopylov has such good striking these days, he’s patient, won’t rush anything and starts to build as the fight goes on. These two will feel each other out at the start before they begin to let their hands go. I don’t think Claudio will have much success with getting TDs either, especially as the fight goes longer. This feels like another performance from Kopylov that’ll result in a TKO stoppage at some point. I think it happens in the 2nd RD. I’m not quite sure what overall SS numbers will look like for Kopylov this time around, because Claudio may not be able to take the damage Puna did before the finish happened, so numbers could be much less.
PICK: Roman Kopylov $18 FD ($9000 DK)
Claudio Ribeiro $12 FD ($7200 DK)
Jake Matthews vs Darrius Flowers
New opponent for Matthews with flowers here. Flowers is another DWCS alum. He started his MMA career as a LW before transitioning to WW. His physicality has served him well, of his 12 wins, 8 have come via KO/TKO, 1 via submission. He’s willing to trade on the feet, he throws big hooks looking to get his opponent out of there. Matthews has traded wins/losses over his last 4. Most recent was the loss to Semelsberger. That was a frustrating fight to watch if you’re a fan of him. He waited too late to implement the wrestling, and by that time, Semelsberger had already done damage with the KD’s etc. This does feel like a spot Matthews can have his way once he figures out the game plan of Flowers. Short notice AND fighting at elevation isn’t a good combo. By the 2nd RD, I think he’ll be able to capitalize on the mat and either find a GNP stoppage or a submission. Not a lot of dogs to love, but if doing ME, around 10% Flowers seems fair.
PICK: Jake Matthews $21 FD ($9300 DK)
Darrius Flowers $10 FD ($6900 DK)
Matthew Semelsberger vs Uros Medic
This marks Medic’s move up to WW from LW. A former Alaskan FC product, he features solid all around skills. His best being his striking, once he gets into the flow of things, he can get ahead on the score cards. There were injury concerns coming in a few months back with a hand apparently that halted a return sooner, would think that that’s no longer an issue if he accepted the bout. From a striking perspective, I think he’s much better than Semelsberger in terms of fluidity, but it’s to be seen if the power translates. Semelsberger will most certainly be the one with more power, and likely strength as well. If he leans on his wrestling it’ll suit him well to wear on Medic. This is closer than I originally thought in terms of outcome for this one. Medic is definitely at the top of the UD list today, but Semelsberger does feel like the safer play overall. I don’t see this going to a decision, so this is one to target for DFS for sure.
PICK: Matthew Semelsberger $19 FD ($8600 DK)
Uros Medic $12 FD ($7600 DK)
Miranda Maverick vs Priscila Cachoeira
It’s only an 11 fight card, but we have some solid all around fights to see, and this is one to open things up. Striker vs Grappler. Cachoeira has the power for this division to put most women out, especially if she can lead in the exchanges. Her Achilles heel has been facing committed wrestlers. Insert Maverick, Maverick has a solid skill set, she has solid striking but thrives in grappling. Her most recent bout showed she can struggle with size of her opponent and that proved true vs Jasudavicius. She couldn’t get TDs and Jasudavicius found her own wrestling success. If Cachoeira stuffs TDs early, this could get interesting. But I think it’s pretty clear she won’t do a whole lot of offensive wrestling of her own. Maverick hasn’t been KO’ed to this point in her career, so don’t feel like durability is a concern. I think she’ll look for TDs early, and from there, she’ll work her gm until she finds the submission. 2nd RD submission is the pick. But again, not a ton of dogs to love, so Cachoeira is one with low downside but solid upside if she does find the finish.
PICK: Miranda Maverick $21 FD ($9400 DK)
Priscila Cachoeira $10 FD ($6800 DK)
By: Chris Joseph (cmj0009)